What to Look For: Lights, Hardware, Warranty Lights and more. Most fans are designed to accommodate optional light fixtures. These can range from simple incandescent bulbs to halogen downlights or elaborately crafted, hand-cut crystal uplight shades. To attach a multiple-light fixture to the fan, you may have to choose a fitter, which connects to the bottom of the fan body. Uplights, which bounce light off the ceiling, provide more ambient illumination than do downlights. One manufacturer makes a fan that comes with both lights and a small but powerful built-in heating unit. Thermostatically controlled, it's intended to extend the seasons for comfortable porch and sunroom use. Finishes. The best painted finishes are electrostatically applied powder coatings. Look for a multiple-coat lacquered finish on brass-plated fans. Mounting hardware. Most fans come with a standard 6-inch downrod. Longer downrods, up to 72 inches, are available for tall ceilings. You'll need a hugger mount that minimizes the distance between fan and ceiling for low-overhead spaces. Look for fans with a swiveling ball-and-socket hanging system. It allows a fan to be hung from a flat or sloped ceiling, and helps keep the fan level when it's in use. Warranty. Compare the fine print on guarantees. Some cover the entire fan, others just the motor. Duration can range, too, from five years to lifetime coverage. Controls. Standard controls for the fan motor and lights include a pull chain from the housing. Consider wiring the fan to a wall switch (which may already be in place if you're replacing a ceiling light) for convenience and to minimize the wear-and-tear on the pull-chain switch and its housing. (These switches are often the first thing to wear out or come loose on fans.) For the ultimate in convenience, look for a remote control. Either wall-mounted or a wireless handheld unit, the device should control the lights and the fan speed. Some have a night-time mode for use in bedrooms, in which the speed is automatically slowed over time. Others include a security setting that trips the lights using random patterns that simulate an occupied house.
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